Which direction home?

To resign the lease or to not resign the lease? It’s a question that comes with sentimental and nightmarish baggage. Remember the horrible battle with pests? The draft that prevents the house temperature from exceeding 65 degrees? The absentee landlord? The broken … everything? What could possibly chain you to this place, when you know classmates who live in palaces? (If you don’t think a full-sized kitchen could ever make you cry in face of its glorious cabinet space, try living in a hobbit house for a year.) All signs point to fleeing, bringing you one step closer to whatever convoluted visions of college-versions of suburbia bliss you may harbor — complete with dinner parties and keeping up with the Joneses (Kitases, in my case).
But, wait, all your shit is here.
Let’s be practical. Given the option to leave your possessions sprawled in their current disarray, you will probably be more willing to call the hobbit house home sweet home for another semester. Laziness has great powers of delusion — I mean, was it really that bad? And, of course, there are the memories. Remember when little Sally took her first steps before passing out by the coffee table? And that time that Tommy nearly burned down the house, baking brownies for the “bake sale”? Warped sitcom- inspired memories aside, you will likely accumulate some fond memories in your house, which will make moving out more difficult. Weighing the pros and cons of your current digs may become a balancing act between the logical and emotional.

Logical questions to ponder include:

• Is the house falling apart?
• How much is the rent? Is it potentially changing? Can this be negotiated?
• Is your landlord easy to talk to and does he/she respond to your concerns in a timely fashion?
• Is the space the right size for you and your housemates?
• Are there any reoccurring issues of pest infestation(s)?
• What are your current bills, and is there any possibility for reductions if you move to another residence?
• Are the alternative rental houses in the area more affordable?

Emotional considerations to ponder:

• You are settled in your current house. Your stuff has a designated place (the floor), and after months of better or worse conditions, this is a home away from home in at least some respect.
• Do you want to remain off campus, and do you want to risk the notorious housing lottery? Can you bear to return to Sodexo food after having your own kitchen for a year?
• Do you want to live with the same people?
• Have the “negative” aspects of your residence taken on an endearing quality for you? (i.e. Yes, it’s filth, but it’s my filth!)
• Are you comfortable where you are, in terms of safety and familiarity?

Ultimately, the question boils down to, can you see yourself living in the house another year, or would you prefer new surroundings? Make sure you talk to your housemates long before your landlord discusses bringing strangers (potential tenants) in to gawk at your natural habitat — you don’t want to feel pressured into making the decision last minute.

Katie Brenzel can be reached at brenzel2@tcnj.edu.